The Hooper-Holding contretemps

By Pryor Jonas
Stabroek News
March 14, 2001

Everyone knows what I'm talking about, but after you hear this bit, I'm certain you yourself will have different views. Here is Michael Holding speaking and writing with Tony Cozier: "The feeling was that while most English and Australian players would feel no moral obligation against going to South Africa, it was astonishing that black West Indians could demean themselves by touring a country that practised racial discrimination by law, and where, as it came to light, they had to be accorded `honorary white' status. That, in effect, meant they were denouncing their race and their colour to become, even if only in name, something they were not. If it was an `honour' to be white, then they must have felt it was a dishonour to be black. I was deeply hurt, and felt a strong sense of betrayal and even anger. Here was the whole world uniting in opposition to a system that dehumanized black people specifically because they were black, and a group of black people were breaching that unity. All were fellow West Indians with whom I had played. I counted many as friends ... I could not hide my feelings. `These men are selling themselves,' I told a reporter. `If they were offered enough money, they would probably agree to wear chains. They would do anything for money'."

I will take this up in my Saturday weekly when I'll be showing that Messrs Holding and Cozier - if necessary I can name and quote others - were all against Hooper. They would have dropped him from the West Indies team ages ago. For Hooper to be captain now was anathema